Although progress has been made in changing attitudes to mental health for the better, there is still a long way to go. According to the CQC report, ‘Right here, right now -help, care and support during a mental health crisis’, a person experiencing a mental health crisis is yet to receive the same quality of response and treatment that people with physical health emergencies receive.
CQC’s report reviewed the current quality, safety and effectiveness of care provided to people experiencing a mental health crisis. Using information and stories shared by people at the heart of the issue, data was collected about whether those who experienced a mental health crisis were being offered the right care, at the right time and if they were given the information they needed. People were also asked how they felt about the attitudes of those providing help, care and support.
It was found that there were clear variations in the help, care and support available to people in crisis and that a person’s experience depends not only on where they live, but what part of the system they come into contact with.
The report also found that many people experience problems in accessing help at the time they need it and in getting the right help when they have a mental health crisis. The results of CQC’s ‘call for evidence’ survey taken in 2014 highlight the attitudes of staff towards people in crisis to be of note. For example, in many cases it was found that staff would judge people in crisis, not treat them with respect or compassion, or not take the time to listen to carers’ concerns.
Another issue that the report acknowledged was people’s lack of knowledge of the variety of services they have access to, such as volunteers or charities, telephone helplines, or community mental health teams. Often those in crisis would end up in A & E after self-harming. Unfortunately CQC’s findings showed that A & E departments were the worst in responding to such cases, with about 65% people feeling that they were not given the help they needed, or the warmth and consideration.
In order to address these concerns and challenges, care providers need to be more knowledgeable about the options open to service users, who have, or are at risk of a mental health crisis. Greater transparency and interagency co-operation is also needed to provide effective and efficient services for the people who need help.
A link to CQC’s ‘Right here, right now’ report can be found here: